More Republicans Desert the Trump Shipwreck—Leaving GA Republicans More Isolated in Their Extremism
Editor’s note: This first draft of this article originally began with the two “explicit statements” below. But the New York Times on October 27 provided a blockbuster reinforcement of this article’s theme: the solidifying of Georgia Republicans’ support for the racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic extremist agenda of Donald Trump—including his new emphasis on inciting his followers to violence—and the resulting isolation of Georgia Republicans from traditional American conservative and Christian values.
A NYT editorial does that, you ask? No. The Times in a news item Republicans for Democrats has simply let Republican readers explain how and why they will vote against Trump this year. I thought this was an apt beginning for an article that already cited the plethora of conservatives who have deserted the now extremist Republican Party—leaving Republicans like Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Karen Handel, Barry Loudermilk, and Nathan Deal increasingly naked to the charge of being nothing but a bunch of lapdog supporters for the extremist wacko, Donald Trump. Including his explicit endorsement of violence in our political life.
- Mary Beth Hunt: “I am a lifelong moderate Republican despairing over the current situation. I am appalled by Trump and fearful of his authoritarian rhetoric and behavior.
- Eric Morgan: “I am a lifelong Republican…I count myself among the Never Trumpers who has taken the previously inconceivable action of voting for…a Democrat…”
- Lynn Schmidt: “I am a Never Trump former Republican… That is what I am voting for, checks and balances.”
References in the NYT article: The Washington Post’s George Will urging Republicans to vote against their party; Mona Charen, about an on-stage encounter early this year; Max Boot, on quitting the G.O.P.; and Jonathan Chait on the importance of Boot’s attack on the party.
Now. My Two Explicit Statements
- Georgia Republicans have joined their colleagues nationwide in becoming the political extremists of our generation, an extremism that can only be described as neo-fascism. The only qualification I wrestle with making about that statement: maybe I should drop the “neo” and label Republicans as pure fascists.
- There is objective evidence that proves the above assertion: the repudiation of the Republican Party and Trumpism (now one and the same) by a growing chorus of people with impeccable conservative credentials. Nothing more proves the extremism of inter alia Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Karen Handel, Barry Loudermilk, and Nathan Deal than their growing isolation from former Republicans who speak in defense of traditional American and democratic values—and common human decency.
The moment of truth for Georgia Republicans came on October 19, when Donald Trump rose in public and celebrated a GOP Congressman’s assault on a reporter by saying: “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy,” and followed up the words with a pantomime of someone doing a body slam. As of October 27, 2018, I can find no report that says any Georgia Republican has denounced Trump’s explicit incitement to violence, a key element in the fascist playbook.
But of course, this is the tip of the iceberg of Trump’s endorsement of violence that was in full throttle during the 2016 presidential campaign, during which he:
- Encouraged supporters to “knock the crap out of” protesters and offered to pay the legal expenses if they did
- Expressed his wish to punch a heckler in the face
- Urged police not to “be too nice” to anyone who committed violence in response to Trump’s urging
- Shared a doctored video of himself attacking CNN in a wrestling match
- Suggested supporters could use guns to stop Clinton judicial nominees
- Fantasized about Clinton’s security detail being taken away
- Bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and get away with it
And that was just during the campaign.
How were these despicable incitements to violence treated by Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, Karen Handel, Barry Loudermilk, and Nathan Deal? They loudly and proudly announced their support for Trump to be elected President of the United States. And Trump’s approval of body slams has not caused them to deviate one iota from that support.
There is a broader, and frightening, political aspect to Trump’s call to violence. His words as President have been an unending torrent of lies, slander, disinformation, and demagoguery. He has made over 5,000 false or misleading statements—including outright lies—since becoming President. Virtually every tweet and speech is an appeal to hatred, frustrations, paranoia, and divisions. He depicts his political opponents as demons, “evil people” that must be destroyed. He labels the media as enemies of the people, awash with fake news designed to undermine him.
Trump in recent weeks, as the mid-term election approached, exponentially stepped up his use of violent rhetoric to whip his supporters to more fear and desperation. As summed up by recent media commentaries, Trump “encouraged his mostly white and mostly male supporters to feel besieged by dark-skinned people, immigrants, women, religious minorities and, of course, the media” and “turned partisan divisions into a proxy war over race and gender.”
The Pipe Bombs, Trump, and GA Republicans
And then came the pipe bombs. Those receiving the bombs include three African Americans, two women, and a Jew frequently targeted by anti-Semites—the very people who are among Trump’s favorite targets at rallies. Some quotes:
- “Trump’s latest stump speech portrays these Democrats as violent, lawless and inhuman, responsible for ‘an assault’ on the country, an ‘angry left-wing mob’ on a ‘ruthless mission to. . . demolish and destroy’
- ‘Corrupt power-hungry globalists’ who invite people into the country to ‘carve you up with a knife.’
- Democrats are ‘openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to. . . overwhelm our nation’ and have ‘launched an assault on the sovereignty of our country. . . and the safety of every single American.’ ”
And how have Georgia’s Republicans—presumed Christians—reacted to Trump’s rhetoric that puts him nearly on a par with Adolph Hitler? They remain unswerving in their support for Trump as the President who is making America great again.
In doing so, they become more isolated—not from Democrats, liberals, or progressives—but from the responsible voices of American conservatism and from mainstream America.
One of the strongest critics of how Trump has handled the bombings is William Kristol, a dean of American conservatism and the founder and editor of the magazine The Weekly Standard. Although an ardent Republican in the past, Kristol opposes Donald Trump and has criticized what he calls the “Trumpified Republican Party.
On TV on October 24, Kristol said Trump was “utterly and totally failing in his responsibilities… unbelievingly irresponsible” and called him a demagogue. He asked “where are the voices of Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan” and said other Republicans had to step up even if the President did not. “I hope we can get beyond Trump.”
Even before Trump’s recent spate of hate-mongering speeches and the bombings, he was being roundly condemned by Max Boot, another lifelong Republican with sterling neoconservative credentials. He was editor of the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal by the time he was 28 and advised the presidential campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.
Boot has written a book, “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.” Boot:
- Described candidate Trump as a “crudely xenophobic” TV celebrity
- Said he is eager for the day when “the G.O.P. as currently constituted is burned to the ground” and urged Americans to “vote against all Republicans.”
Reviewing the Record
Keep reading for an extensive, but by no means exhaustive, look at the real conservatives who have deserted Trump’s morally and intellectually corrupt Republican Party.
As you read, reflect on the extent to which Georgia Republicans’ slavish support for Trump reveals the degree to which they have become intellectually corrupt and bereft of anything resembling traditional values or simple decency. They avidly endorse Trump’s attempt to distract voters from their record on health care by resorting to racist scare tactics.
- Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist and former head of McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign: “I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.”
- Schmidt follows in the illustrious footsteps of Post columnist George F. Will, former senator Gordon Humphrey, former representative (and Post columnist) Joe Scarborough, Reagan and Bush (both) aide Peter Wehner, and other Republicans who have left the party.
by Michael Gerson, conservative columnist and former speechwriter for G.W. Bush
A life-long Republican writes the (for now) ultimate word on the depths of Donald Trump’s moral turpitude–and of his supporters. 8/26/18
- George Will on Donald Trump: “Our Socialist President”
- The Republican Sewer Deepens, cont.
- GA Republicans Endorse Trump’s Escalation of Lies & Demagoguery
- Georgia Republicans Continue Assault on Decency
- Georgia Republicans Comfortable with Colleagues’ Racist Speak
- Reminders of How Vile Trump & His Republicans Really Are
- Today’s Republicans & 1960s Segregationists: Peas in a Pod
- Kavanaugh Mess Makes Clear: GOP a Bastion of Sexism & Misogyny
- McCain Imbroglio Reveals Extremism, Isolation of Trump & Republicans